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Puppet on a Chain [Import]

1 customer review

Price: CDN$ 66.60
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Puppet on a Chain [Import] + Salzburg Connection [Import]
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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Scorpion Records
  • Release Date: March 20 2012
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Product Description

Puppet On A Chain

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Most helpful customer reviews

By Brian.schouten on Dec 11 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
very pleased
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 24 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
No Tiptoe Through The Tulips March 20 2012
By William Amazzini - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Scorpion continues to unleash rare action/exploitation titles from the Seventies and this one Director Geoffrey Reeve's 'PUPPET ON A CHAIN'- 1971 is one of the most underrated of them all. Resembling a Euro Spy film from the Sixties , it mostly resembles a James Bondian caper fusing British and American filmmakers with some Norwegian touches along the way. Writer Alistair MacLean was having a virtual renaissance with no less than five of his novels seeing big screen adaptations through out the Sixties. Here we have Dutch actor Sven-Bertil Taube who was popular in his home country and US actress Barbara Parkins fresh from Director Mark Robson's 'VALLEY OF THE DOLLS'-1967 and heavy television work teamed up to fight the bad guys and stiff upper lipped Brits Alexander Knox and Patrick Allen trying to block them every step of the way. The only flaw of the film is its swinging sixties atmosphere which was dated even at this films release and is much more so now not being aided by the wacka-wacka rhythms of composer Piero Piccioni's music score with its outdated Farfisa organ refrains. The film does, however , emerge as a taut, gritty affair about drug smuggling utilizing bibles and puppets as the carriers. Taube plays Sherman , a bitter edge of burnout agent hired to stop the operation. The film really explodes midway through its running time when Sherman is being tortured by Maynard, assassin extroadinaire played beautifully by character actor Vladek Sheybal, the memorable chess player who gets his comeuppance at the beginning of Director Terence Young's 'FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE'- 1964. After his escape, Sherman pursues Maynard in revenge mode but the filmmakers pull a surprise: instead of the usual epic car chase so prolific in action films of that period, they use speedboats as their weapons. The film then shifts into adrenalin gear as the sequence culminates in a tensely edited chase through the canals of Amsterdam all under the brilliant auspices of co-director Don Sharp and which emerges as one of the best chases ever filmed. Future Bond opuses Director Guy Hamilton's 'LIVE AND LET DIE'- 1973 and Director Michael Apted's 'THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH'-1999 would try to out due the boat chase thrills in their sequences but are quickly left in the dust after the brilliance of Sharp's technique of filmmaking in 'PUPPETS' revenge motif surroundings. After the chase, however, the film grinds to a halt and ends tragically which may have turned off audiences at the time. Scorpion deserves kudos for resurrecting this excellent actioner into the digital age with a beautiful 1.85 transfer making it look fresh and vibrant. MacLean would have 2 other British/American co-productions filmed after this -Director Michael Tuchner's 'FEAR IS THE KEY'-1973 and Director Etienne Perier's 'WHEN EIGHT BELLS TOLL'-1972 which have yet to see digital releases in the states. This film, however, should keep Maclean fans sated until then.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Paul Scott - Published on
Format: DVD
Puppet on a String is a 1971 suspense actioner adapting MacLean's 1969 novel.

The adventure follows tough American drug agent Paul Sherman (Sven-Bartil Taube, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as he ruthlessly pursues a narcotics cartel in the Netherlands. His investigation takes him to an odd religious order, housed in a castle in the middle of the ocean, on an island that may or not be diabolical. One thing leads to another and Sherman ultimately finds himself engaged in an infamous deadly boat chase.

The DVD: a newly remastered 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer;-- audio; commentary by film historians Lee Pfeiffer, Todd Garbarini, and Paul Scrabo; and an extended bar sequence with topless waitress's
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Dark European thriller July 25 2012
By Glenn Richards - Published on
Format: DVD
This European thriller is a 1971 adaptation of the Alistair MacLean novel, and has most of the same elements as his better-known films, although it was less successful. The storyline involves a pair of agents who arrive in the Netherlands to break up an international drug-smuggling ring. The realization however is rather murky and dark, with bizarre plot twists involving a religious cult. As is typical in MacLean novels, the action centers on the heroic male lead, played by Swedish actor Sven-Bertil Taube. His female partner, Barbara Parkins, meets an ignominious end (implied by the film's title), which galvanizes him to avenge her. The best element is the speedboat chase through the canals of Amsterdam.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Matinee in Linden NJ when I was 12, never forgot it. April 4 2012
By Miles Underfoot - Published on
Format: DVD
After viewing this in the theater at 12 years old, I had the opportunity while in the USN to spend a week in Amsterdam. For some reason, when I got to Amsterdam, I felt like I came home. This movie is for people like me who watched it at an impressionable age, fell for the girls, felt horrible when they died and liked the action scenes. If you are planning to watch it for the first time, think about being there in the early 70's otherwise you will compare it to other more modern movies. Diamonds are Forever came out around the time of Puppet on a Chain, but it did not have the emotional toll that puppet did due to the connection made with the female officer who was eventually hanged as a puppet on a chain.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
an excellent adaptation of alistair maclean's dark euro-crime thriller... Jan. 28 2013
By trebe - Published on
Format: DVD
Puppet on a Chain (1971) is a violent suspense thriller which follows the exploits of an American government agent, who comes to Amsterdam to find the source of a drug pipeline to America. Master of suspense, Alistair MacLean (Ice Station Zebra, When Eight Bells Toll, Where Eagles Dare), the author of the original novel, also wrote the bulk of the screenplay, which is quite dark and grim, highlighted by some grisly deaths, and a wild cinematic boat chase through the canal systems of Amsterdam. The macabre image of a doll of a little Dutch girl, hanging by the neck on a chain, is a theme that is repeatedly featured in the movie.

Flying into Amsterdam, American agent Paul Sherman (Sven-Bertil Taub) realizes that he is playing a very deep game, when his contact is murdered at the airport, and later is forced to deal violently with a man he finds searching his hotel room. Although working with Inspector Van Gelder (Patrick Allen) of the local police, Sherman is also operating secretly with Maggie (Barbara Parkins), another American agent.

Sherman's investigation leads to a warehouse near the docks which contains Dutch girl dolls and Bibles, a castle where a creepy man named Meegeren (Vladek Sheybal) is in charge, and Van Gelder's drug damaged daughter Trudi (Penny Casdagli), who keeps popping up, always carrying a similar doll. After sneaking aboard a ship and witnessing a drug pickup at sea, Sherman has some of the pieces of the puzzle in hand, but taking down the ruthless gang will not be simple or bloodless.

Sven-Bertil Taub (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) was perhaps more well-known as a singer, but he gives a solid performance in his first real starring role. Taub may be a bit stiff at times, but he's mostly credible, and more than delivers in the film's numerous action sequences. Sherman is a total pro, who is at his best when everything is on the line, and Taub brings a sense of real toughness to the role. Barbara Parkins (Peyton Place, Valley of the Dolls) doesn't have a huge part, but is very good in her role. The real scene stealer is Vladek Sheybal (From Russia with Love), who brings a real sinister edge to his character, without becoming too cartoonish, like your typical Bond villain.

MacLean's fast paced and tightly wound screenplay, results in one of the better adaptations of one of his novels. The film features some wicked twists, striking visuals, and a more somber downbeat ending than the novel. The action includes some vicious hand to hand fights, and a long winding boat chase sequence through the canals of Amsterdam, where speedboats collide and bang off of bridge structures.

Puppet on a Chain was very topical, as drug trafficking was a significant problem at the time, and was also the subject of the Academy Award winning film, The French Connection (1971), which was released around the same time. Doing a fine job of featuring the city of Amsterdam, Geoffrey Reeve is rather impressive in his directorial debut. Apparently a close friend of MacLean's, Reeve would go on to direct two more adaptations of his novels. Don Sharp (Kiss of the Vampire) a more experienced director, was brought in to shoot some of the action sequences, notably the showpiece boat chase. Sharp would later direct the adaptation of MacLean's novel, Bear Island (1979).

While the overall image quality of this DVD release is good, there are some places where it looks pretty grainy or dirty. Extras include various trailers, and an informative and analytic commentary track, by a team of film buffs associated with Cinema Retro magazine.

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